Pairing Cigars & Alcohol – Dominique London Privee Liberation Cigar Cognac

Cigars and alcohol. Two luxury products that go hand in hand, and sometimes even meet on business level. Aging tobacco in whisky, rum, or cognac barrels is a practice several brands do to achieve extra flavour to the wrapper for certain lines. The famous bourbon brand Maker’s Mark has their own cigar, sold in tubes with the signature wax coating. Drew Estate works with Pappy van Winkle and used to make Kahlua cigars. Mombacho used to have the Diplomatico series, but the Mombacho brand no longer exists. General Cigars works with Sazerac, which resulted in Fireball cigars, Weller by Cohiba and collaborations with Buffalo Trace. And there is the Diesel Whisky Row, a collaboration with Rabbit Hole Distilleries. Fratello Cigars also sells craft beer. Most famous are probably the Cuban collaboration between Martell Cognac and Cohiba. Dominique London, the European retailer with more than 20 shops in the UK, Belgium, Switzerland and the Canary Islands takes it one step further. They bought a distillery in Wales and produce whisky, gin, rum, vodka and liquors.

Dominique London Privee Liberation Cigar Cognac

Cognac is a variety of brandy named after the commune of Cognac, France. It is produced in the surrounding wine-growing region in the departments of Charente and Charente-Maritime. Cognac production falls under French appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) designation, with production methods and naming required to meet certain legal requirements. The brandy must be twice distilled in copper pot stills and aged at least two years in French oak barrels from Limousin or Tronçais. Cognac matures in the same way as whiskies and wines barrel-age, and most cognacs spend considerably longer “on the wood” than the minimum legal requirement.

Dominque London Privee Liberation Cigar Cognac isn’t the first cognac to be tied to cigars. Bisquit Cognac collaborated with Cohiba until Martell took over. I don’t know what exactly caused the switch from Bisquit to Martell, but in the past I was lucky enough to sample both. That’s why I have high expectation of the Dominique London Privee Liberation Cigar Cognac. This exclusive Dominique London Cognac was created by Ron Morrison (the man behind Foragers Gin & Stalla Dhu whisky) and Mitchell Orchant (Dominique London) and bottled by the prestigious cognac house of Tiffon, founded in 1875. This exquisite cognac is made entirely from white grapes from the Grande Champagne region in France. Grande Champagne, not related to the famous sparkling wine region with the same name, is the Cognac region with the highest accolades, it’s the Vuelta Abajo from the cognac industry.

Neat

The cognac has a nice, deep, amber golden colour. The slightly sweet nose has hints of citrus, more orange than lemon or lime though. Combine that with earthy aromas and cedar and you have this cognac. There is no ethanol on the nose. The cognac is very rich, with a thick creamy buttery mouthfeel. A slight and mild pepper with vanilla, berries and slight spice. There is a bit of a sour apple freshness, it is a very good cognac in my book, with a cedar wood finish. I would pair this with a rich cigar as well, medium in body. A Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchill, Ramon Allones #3, Oliva Connecticut Reserve Toro, of if you like something stronger, try a HENK Masterpiece.

Between the Sheets

The Sidecar is a pre-Prohibition classic that features cognac, orange liqueur and fresh lemon juice. It has stood the test of time and remains in heavy rotation today at bars and in homes around the world. If you like the Sidecar, you should meet its lesser-known cousin, the Between the Sheets. The Between the Sheets starts as a Sidecar but diverges with a measure of light rum and skips the customary sugared rim. This two-spirit base lends complexity, merging the rich oak and fruit notes of cognac with the dry, tropical notes of light rum.
The nose is dominated by the flamed orange peel, very citrussy, but since the cognac also has that orange aroma as well as the triple sec, part of the nose could come from that as well. The rum and lemon juice are not noticeable on the nose. This cocktail is fresh, sweet and sour at the same time with a perfect balance and a depth and richness that you don’t find often in a cocktail. This cocktail deserves a rich cigar as well. Something sweet such as a Sobremesa Brulee would pair very well, but also a stronger complex cigar like the Destino al Siglo or Don Carlos Eye of the Shark by Fuente would go very well. For Cubans, I would pair this with the Cohiba Siglo de Oro.

And now for the between the sheets recipe:
1 ounce or 30ml of Cognac
1 ounce or 30ml of Light rum
1 ounce or 30ml of Triple Sec
¼ ounce or 7½ml of lemon juice, freshly squeezed
garnish: flamed orange peel
Shake the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Express the oil from the flamed orange peel over the glass and then discard the peel

Horse Neck

Dating back to the late 19th century, a Horse’s Neck was originally a refreshing glass of non-alcoholic ginger ale, and a jigger of bourbon, rye or brandy was added somewhere down the line. This two-ingredient cocktail is an easy-to-make crowd pleaser, especially for those who like an exaggerated garnish. Because the Horse’s Neck gets its singular name from its long coiled lemon peel that snakes around the inside of the glass. In this case, I’m making this cocktail with cognac instead of bourbon.

The nose is mostly ginger from the ginger ale. The ginger is sort of overpowering the cognac, although the sweetness, berries and the buttery creaminess still shine through on the background. A nice woody cigar would pair well. Flor de Las Antillas Toro for example, or Jose L. Piedra or Rafael Gonzalez from Cuba.

And now for the Horse Neck recipe:
2 ounces or 60ml of Cognac
Chilled Ginger Ale to top
Garnish: Lemon peel
Fill a highball glass with ice and add the cognac. Top with ginger ale and garnish with a long lemon peel.

Brandy Alexander

The Brandy Alexander was a darned popular drink during the ’70s. It’s obviously a pimped-out version of the classic—but largely forgotten—Alexander cocktail and mixes brandy instead of gin with creme de cacao and cream. One of the earliest known printed recipes for the Alexander can be found in Hugo Ensslin’s 1916 book “Recipes for Mixed Drinks.” The cocktail, according to historian Barry Popik, was likely born at Hotel Rector, New York City’s premier pre-Prohibition lobster palace. The bartender there, a certain Troy Alexander, created his eponymous concoction in order to serve a white drink at a dinner celebrating Phoebe Snow.

I made this cocktail before, with the exact same ingredients. Dominique London Privee cognac and Marsette Peruvian Chocolate Essence. I loved it so much, that I decided to make the cocktail again, this time for the cognac pairing. The nose has the characteristics of the cognac, but muted, with dark chocolate shining through. There is a hint of the nutmeg. This cocktail is a boozy chocolate milk. I would not pair this with a strong or peppery cigar. A nice medium bodied Honduran grown Connecticut Shade cigar will be nice, or something with a Corojo wrapper for its nutty characteristics

And now for the Brandy Alexander recipe:
1½ ounce or 45ml of Cognac
1 ounce or 30ml of Dark Chocolate liqueur
1 ounce or 30ml of cream
garnish: grated nutmeg
Shake the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with some grated nutmeg

Inspector X

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